If you write short form literary pieces - poems, short stories, creative nonfiction - getting paid can be an uphill battle. Most literary journals don't pay anything, or pay only a pittance.

Nonfiction writing, on the other hand, can be quite lucrative. Many magazines will pay handsomely for a nonfiction article, especially if it is instructive. The flow of information is key in the information age, and publications are always hungry for more.

Even if you primarily write poetry or short stories, you can make money as a nonfiction freelancer because everyone is an expert at something. Are you a parent? There are many parenting magazines interested in your expertise. Do you collect stamps as a hobby, own pets, have a garden? Are you a foodie or like to travel? Can you write a compelling book or movie review? There are even magazines that want to hear about your experience as a writer. What is your writing process? How do you overcome writers' block? And if you're published - how did you get your agent or publisher?

There is one important difference between creative writing and nonfiction submissions. While fiction is submitted in full, nonfiction is pitched. A pitch is a brief description of the article you want to write - one that will convince the editor your idea is a perfect fit for their publication. The pitch also includes your credentials and/or expertise, which are essential for nonfiction writing.

Do some research before you pitch. Read submissions guidelines carefully, and get familiar with the publication. Unlike literary journals, nonfiction publications respond quickly. If you don't hear back from the editor within a week, follow up with a polite email. If you still don't get a reply, move on.

Here are some helpful articles:

How to Write the Perfect Article Pitch

How to Pitch

How NOT to pitch editors

These sites provide some great resources for freelance writers.

Who Pays Writers

This is an enormously useful site for both fiction and nonfiction writers. It gives detailed information on hundreds of publications, including how much they pay, when they pay (upon publication, 30-day net, etc.), how to submit, platform (print, online), whether there is a contract, and helpful comments.

Contently Rates Database

The Contently database is organized by date, format, category (writing, photography, etc.), and pay rate. The comments are very helpful. (It's interesting to look at this list just to see what every news outlet pays freelancers.)

Write Jobs

Write Jobs is one of my favorite resources for finding calls for submissions and writing contests. The site also features numerous opportunities for nonfiction writing, along with pay rates and detailed information for submitting. Some of these are longer term gigs with hourly pay.

Make a Living Writing

This is a site that features 92 paying markets organized by topic: Business, Career, and Finance; Essays; Family and Parenting; Health; Lifestyle and General Interest; Tech; Travel and Food; and Writing. The site also offers tips for pitching, resources for freelance writers, and many other informative articles.

And for those who are looking for something more than a one-off:

Freelance Writing

Freelance Writing is the go-to site for finding longer term writing jobs. The site compiles job offerings from a number of different sources. You can search by location, job source, skills, and sort by date. You can also apply for jobs directly from the site.

Nothing makes me happier than a bar graph. (Although pie charts also stir my soul.) Dana Beth Weinberg, who has a Ph.D. from Harvard University and is Professor of Sociology at Queens College, has made my day with - not just a bar graph - but an analysis!

You can either read her article and weep, or, like a sensible person, you can decide to cover all your bets. Keep your day job, self-publish, AND hound agents until one of them takes pity on you and sells your manuscript to Random/Penguin.


The Self-Publishing Debate: A Social Scientist Separates Fact from Fiction (Part 3 of 3)

By Dana Beth Weinberg

Not surprisingly, most aspiring authors in the sample reported no annual income from their writing. About 19% of self-published authors in the sample also reported no annual income from their writing, compared to 6% of traditionally published authors and only 3% of hybrid authors. While most of the survey respondents clustered at the lower end of the income distribution, some authors did report earning $200,000 or more from their writing, the highest income choice on the survey:  less than one percent (0.6%) of self-published authors, 4.5% of traditionally published authors, and 6.7% of hybrid authors who reported on their income. (In the chart, I have collapsed the top categories to $100,000 or more for better visibility. These aggregated category represents 1.8% of self-published authors, 8.8% of traditionally published authors, and 13.2% of hybrid authors.)

Self-published authors in the sample earned a median income in the range of $1 to $4,999, while traditionally published authors had a median writing income of $5,000 to $9,999, and hybrid authors earned a median income of $15,000 to $19,999. Comparing authors with the same number of manuscripts (analysis not shown), there is a strong similarity in income between hybrid and traditional authors, but hybrid authors outperformed their self-published counterparts on earnings.

Read the full article HERE.  I insist.

If you are a nonfiction writer, there are seemingly endless resources for publishing articles. I say "seemingly" because numbers are deceptive. Getting a nonfiction article published in a reputable magazine can be just as daunting as publishing a short story in The Atlantic. Unless you are a recognized expert in your field, the competition will be fierce.

But what if you are an unrecognized expert? If you are, let's say, a gardener with years of experience, you are an expert. Having a degree in horticulture doesn't add to your qualifications. The same holds true for numerous areas in which experience counts more than public recognition: raising children, raising chickens, dealing with aging parents, marketing your own  crafts, and so on. I am sure you can think of several areas in which you have a body of knowledge that would be beneficial to others.

Internet sites that will pay for your articles

The best way to capitalize on that knowledge is to write articles on highly trafficked sites on the net. How does it work? Some sites offer writers a share of the income generated by ads on their site. Others give you a set payment for a certain number of clicks.

Here are three income-generating sites:


Yahoo Voices (Read Angela La Fon's article on how to get started)

HubPages (Read Can You Make Money Writing for HubPages first)

Writing for the net has its own protocol. The following article by Alexandra Romanov is an excellent primer. If you want to learn how to get published, get views, and get paid -  read what she has to say.

How to Build a Residual Income With SEO & Yahoo Voices

By Alexandra Romanov, Freelance Writer

Using SEO to Maximize Your Residual Income on Yahoo Voices

I’ve had articles on Yahoo Voices that averaged 100 views a month and I’ve had articles that, once I mastered SEO, averaged 100,000 views a month. The financial difference is hundreds of dollars per month and thousands of dollars a year.

SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. What that means, in a nutshell, is a manner of writing that makes it easy for the search engines to read and add your articles to their results list. The better you are at SEO, the higher your article will list on the results page.

Internet Writing

The difference in writing for the Internet as opposed to writing for print media is that in print writing you focus on a catchy title and a compelling article. While both of those factors are still extremely important, people have to find your article before those two aspects come into play. That is why SEO is so important for writers to master quickly: It’s how we get read.

Read the rest of this informative article HERE.